Justice First Fellows are hosted by some of the best social welfare legal organisations in the country. Each year between 15-20 organisations are awarded grants which support them to train Fellows over the two years of their training contracts. Alongside the compulsory training, Fellows are supported by their host organisation to devise and run their own project aimed at increasing access to justice in order to gain programme development experience and potentially to provide a future income stream for their host organisation.


What does the Justice First Fellowship involve?

  1. A trainee solicitor: Hosts employ a trainee solicitor for a two year fully funded training period. Those trainees are given a free place on the Professional Skills Course at BPP campuses, contribution towards any mandatory modules for SQE2 or equivalent compulsory training in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  2. A project: Host organisations work in collaboration with the Fellow to develop a project that will benefit the organisation and perhaps create a source of income. Past projects have included the set up of an outreach clinic and overhaul of an organisation’s website and social media content.
  3. Wider support, development & networking: Hosts can attend sessions focused on project development, sharing best training practice with other Host organisations and feeding back into the structure and process of our JFF scheme. Building relationships with other JFF Hosts is just as important for Hosts as it is for Fellows. And Hosts have reported that these partnerships have proved useful in other aspects of their work.


Is my organisation eligible to be a Host?

Just like the Fellows, Host organisations go through a competitive application process. To be eligible your organisation must:

  •  Meet the requirements set out by the relevant regulatory authority to supervise a trainee solicitor (SRA | Law Society of Scotland | Law Society of Northern Ireland)
  • Apply in partnership with an organisation who can provide the appropriate supervision.

Most Hosts are not-for-profit providers of legal advice, but some are private law firms committed to social justice and some are charities without a legal team who have partnered with another organisation. If your organisation does not have a solicitor, you could consider partnering with a firm who can support this aspect of the fellowship.

If you have not been a Host before or are considering if a partnership application is right for you, please do get in touch with us here.


What does a Hosting partnership look like?

Each partnership will be slightly different depending on the needs of the applicant, the partner organisation and the Fellow. A Fellow may split their week across both organisations, they might develop their project more with one than the other, or they may spend several months with one Host before working with the second partner. Often, the applicant Host will have legal expertise while a partner Host may have specialist knowledge of a local or excluded community or an alternative approach to support. What is common across theses different models is the creative use of law that the partnerships foster. We have seen these joint ventures strengthen ties between organisations and develop a mutual respect for their different valuable skillsets and approaches to supporting social justice. We have started supporting Hosting partnerships relatively recently. Some past and current Hosts in partnership include:


How are Hosts selected?

From eligible applications, TLEF will only select Hosts who can offer fellows excellent legal training, an innovative work environment and the best support to become a successful social justice lawyer in the future. We aim to prioritise applications by considering where a grant to host one of our Fellows could provide the most impact. We consider the following factors when considering Hosts for selection:

  • Have a strong training ethos.
  • Offer an inclusive and supportive working environment for Fellows.
  • Strive to learn from their beneficiaries and local community.
  • Expert in an area of social justice law.
  • Do work that is of national significance or play a key role in their geographic region.
  • Do work which is innovative and strategic.
  • Think creatively about the future sustainability of their work.
  • Cover a geographic area or particular community who are otherwise underserved by advice provision.
  • Are likely to be financially stable for the duration of the training contract.
  • Financial ability to offer a training position without receiving grant funding.
  • Number of trainees currently within an organisation.

TLEF will endeavour to create a balanced selection each year across locations and legal specialisms, experienced and new Hosts. Consideration is also given to the priorities of co-funders.

You can also read our criterion on how we prioritise applications and eligibility and exclusions from our grant more widely.


What does the Host receive?

A grant award will cover the costs associated with employing a Fellow over two years, including salary, national insurance, pension contribution and associated supervision and support costs. TLEF will also cover the costs of the Fellow’s compulsory professional training, as well as contribute to additional training and IT set-up. Private firms are expected to make a contribution to their supervision costs to reflect the Legal Aid income that will be earned by the Fellow during their training. It is also possible for two organisations to host in partnership, for instance, where a private firm provides the regulated supervision of a trainee who also spends time working with a charity.

Hosts, like Fellows, also become part of a wider cohort of social justice organisations who have taken part in the fellowship. Many Hosts have found the connections they have formed in this network to be the start of valuable working relationships. Hosts are offered training and peer support sessions facilitated by TLEF covering topics from fundraising, project management and supervision practice.


How are Fellows selected?

As a Host, you are the Fellow’s trainer and employer. Prospective Fellows apply to the Host of their choice by submitting an online application through our website. The programme is extremely competitive and a high standard of graduates apply each year. Each Host follows their own recruitment process, with the Foundation taking an observer role at interview stage. You can read more about the Fellow application process here.


What about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)?

From 2023, Host organisations in England & Wales may choose to offer an SQE Fellowship. But we will also continue to support Hosts who want to offer a training contract Fellowship.

We will continue working to adapt our Fellowship to incorporate SQE requirements and would be keen to discuss organisations’ approach to qualification as part of the assessment process.


The Host information booklet below contains a more detailed description of the grant responsibilities and restrictions.


JFF Host Information Booklet

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